A Brief History Of John Baldessari is a very entertaining 2012 documentary commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for a gala honoring the artist. Described by its filmmakers as “the epic life of a world-class artist, jammed into six minutes,” the video presents a fast-paced collection of off-beat facts narrated by Tom Waits, with deadpan commentary by Baldessari. Born in 1931, Baldessari is one of the country’s most legendary and influential conceptual artists. A pioneer of conceptual art practice, his career spans five decades and embraces painting, photography, film, video, books, prints, objects and installation. He taught at CalArts from 1970 – 1988 and at UCLA from 1996 – 2007. His artwork has been featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions and in over 1000 group exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. Baldessari currently lives in Santa Monica, California and works in Venice, California.
Watermark, a recent documentary film by industrial landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky (Canadian, b. 1955) about how water shapes us, and how we shape water, is an astonishing and powerful work of art. Don’t miss it…and if you can find it, rent Manufactured Landscapes, a 2006 film about Burtynsky’s work. Both films are visually arresting and magnificent portrayals of man’s impact on the environment, or as Burtynsky says “nature transformed through industry.”